Monday, May 16, 2016

Happy Dance!!

If you had been in my house about an hour ago, you would've witnessed my happy dance.  My kids thought it was hilarious, and probably a little embarassing.  Aedan wanted to get it on video and post it on Facebook.  Luckily for me, and all of you, he had no access to any camera!  So why was I doing my entertaining little dance?  Because...drum roll I800-A arrived today!!!!!!  For those unfamiliar with adoption terminology, the I800-A is an important piece of paper granted by USCIS (immigration), giving permission to bring a child into this country.  It's the last piece of paper needed to complete our dossier.  Yes, our dossier was already sent, in hopes that someone will take an early look at it.  But without it, we can't be matched with any child.  Now that we have it, the ICAB will thoroughly read our dossier (hopefully someone has already at least glanced at it) and decide if they need any more information from us.  Once they are satisfied, we will be matched.  Then back to USCIS we go for the 800-A, then passport and visa have to be issued, and then we can travel.  It's still months away, and all that can take an unreasonably and inexplicably long time, BUT GOD.  God can and does move mountains to get children home!  See, I have prayed and prayed that this approval would come quickly, but I wasn't letting myself believe it actually would.  Based on other people's timelines recently, I was *sure* it was going to take "forever."  Certainly longer than 6 weeks and 4 days!  But God is so good.  Even in my doubt, even in my weakness, HE is faithful!  It's so easy in this process to become overwhelmed and anxious.  Almost all of it is beyond our control, and it involves so much waiting, so much unknown.  But I have to continually remind myself that my God is in control, and He makes it all happen in His perfect time.  I have to trust Him, even when it seems like things aren't going to go my way, or when things are much harder or taking much longer than I like.
So now I will pray for a faster-than-usual matching, with no additional paperwork required!  And after that happens, I'll believe God for fast-fast-fast visa and passport.  I am doing my very best to believe God that we will get our little girl home this year.  It would take a miracle, but lucky for me, I serve The Living God who still does miracles.  Especially where orphans are concerned!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trash Bags are for Trash

Remember Toy Story 3?  Remember the scene where Andy is packing for college, and he puts all his toys into a garbage bag?  All except for Woody, of course.  Anyway, he starts to put the toys in the attic for storage, then gets distracted and sets the bag down on the floor.  Mom comes along and mistakes the bag for trash, and to the curb it goes.  You can't blame Mom, of course.  Trash bags are meant for trash, after all.  Later, after Woody rescues the toys from the garbage truck, they make their way to a box destined for a daycare.  Woody tries to convince them to go back, that Andy meant for them to go in the attic.  But no one buys it.  Andy put them in a trash bag; he must have been throwing them away.  Trash bags are meant for trash, after all.
So why am I writing about Toy Story and the trash bag scene?  May is Foster Care Awareness Month.   I don't know if you're aware, but when a child is taken into foster care, they are given a trash bag to carry their belongings in.  A trash bag.  Right now, trash bags are an important thing in my house.  I have 219 of them filled with shoes for our shoe drive.  But I would never consider using those same trash bags for my kids' stuff.  For instance, I wouldn't send James to school with his lunchbox and homework in a trash bag.  I wouldn't send them to baseball with their gear in one either.  I would not make Liana go to Girl Scout camp with her clothes in one.  And neither would any of you.  And yet, kids everywhere are forced to do just that.  They have to leave their homes, endure trauma, and they aren't even given the dignity of real luggage.
You and I can change that!  It doesn't take much.  A small duffel bag, a backpack, or a drawstring bag packed with some essentials (hygiene items) and a few small comfort items (stuffed animal or blanket, coloring book and crayons) will make a world of difference for a child whose world is being turned upside down.  From now until the 25th, our orphans' ministry will be collecting bags to give to kids going into care.  You can bring your bag to our Friends of Adoption Picnic on Saturday, May 21st.   Everyone is welcome to attend, even if you aren't a foster or adoptive parent.  If you can't attend, you can still donate a bag.  I'll be taking them to the county office on the 26th.  If you are reading this and aren't local, you can still take part in ending the trash bag trauma.  Call your local county office or foster care agency.  They'll be more than happy to take bags for kids in their care.  If you are local and want to donate a bag or two, please let me know!  I'd love to take a whole van full of bags and show the love of Jesus in a real and tangible way.  Thanks, friends!

27Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.
28If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,
“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”  Proverbs 3

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2